Dezincification of a Brass Elbow in a Steam Heating Coil
A brass elbow that formed one termination of a steam heating coil failed adjacent to the brazed connection after ten years of service. Chemical analysis showed that the elbow was made from a 60-40 CuZn brass containing 3% lead and 1% tin, a typical alloy used for the manufacture of components by the hot stamping process. Microscopic examination indicated failure from dezincification. The fact that the screwed end was not affected indicated that the trouble was not caused by the condensate, which flowed through the elbow, but originated from the water heated in the vessel. The helical mode of the cracking was probably due to the torsional stresses which would be imposed on the elbow by thermally induced movements of the coil in service.